Wednesday, January 30, 2013

KatyInTheKitchen: Homemade potato chips

This past weekend, after a morning of laundry, cleaning, and, ok, some lazing around, I milled around my kitchen wondering what I'd have for lunch.
Based on the meager offerings in my pantry, it was going to be a turkey sandwich, but I had a craving for a little something extra. 
 I decided to make my own potato chips, since I don't usually have any around. I'd never made my own before but I figured it couldn't be all that hard. 

After glancing online for any strange little details that might be necessary, I discovered that after thinly slicing the potatoes, soaking them in cold water for a half hour so supposedly removes excess starch and allows them to crisp up better.

After that I popped them in a deep pan with some hot oil and let them fry away, and removed them to a cooling rack to drain off any excess oil.

I liked that I could add whatever seasonings I wanted to these chips. I opted for simple salt and pepper and they were a perfect compliment to a turkey, cheddar, and apple butter sandwich. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fire in the Hole

"Uhh, I'm sorry to have to tell you this but there's a fire in the subway and we're going to be offloading. . .there's nothing I can do. . .you'll have to get off and walk to Kenmore for a shuttle that will make all subway stops"  

It is 8:38 AM and I've been loosely considering texting my boss to let her know I'll be late, as   we were clearly not getting to my stop before 9.  The word, "fire" gives me pause, and I silence my earphones to take it the repeated announcement.  Late to work takes on a whole new meaning.

you can sort of see the masses crowded and freezing here
 Then, just like that we jerk to halt at Blanford, and hundreds of winter clad commuters swarm out of the T, blocking traffic on Comm Ave as we cross the street. My toes are frozen before I reach the opposite sidewalk to make the trek to the Kenmore bus station. A disheartened groan escapes my numb lips as I arrived at Kenmore to find that hundreds more people racing around trying to figure out how to get downtown.  We are directed to wait for shuttle buses, but as they begin to arrive, it becomes clear I've taken up a place in the back of the line. 
Thankfully, a very confused shuttle driver pulls up right in front of my section. She's only been given direction to take people from stops farther out here to Kenmore, but as we all wildly pile onto her bus, shivering and begging for a ride to our downtown destinations, she relents. 
Bodies thick with winter padding smash into the bus until it seems we were all one. A single, undulating down coat. I'm waiting for angry shoving. shouting and general angst to overtake the crowded shuttle. Yet, in a city known for the surly indifference of it's inhabitants, this sudden, minor disaster seems to have transformed my fellow Bostonians into generous, thoughtful, kind people.

"Hey, guys, let this lady of the shuttle, she got on by accident"
"The red line's closed too, everybody!"
"Guess we're all officially late for work" (that one followed by a laugh)
"you have to have a sense of humor to live in this city!"

And amid it all, my fellow shuttlers and I begin a strange foreign dance; one we do not involve ourselves in on our cranky Green Line. We make eye contact, smile, and roll our eyes in amused frustration. We forgive elbow jabs from panicked commuters as they push aggressively through our numbers with a laugh.  We thank the harried shuttle driver and wish her well as we clamor off the bus, our toes and noses immediately frozen in the negative air. We are happy, and light, with the strange sense of camaraderie that arises out of chaos.

Despite the frenetic (almost) two hours I spent getting the 5 miles to work today, I stepped into my office feeling more invigorated and light hearted than on any normal  day. You can blame it on the cold, if you will, but I think it's because this morning I got a glimpse of a fine moment for Boston. The cheerful, patient, let-it-roll-of-your-shoulders part that reminds me we are not all bad. 

Boston, sometimes we are beautiful, too.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

KatyInTheKitchen: Rosemary Shortbread

Oh Sweet Heavens, friends. 

This holiday seasoned, I discovered what might possibly be the most delicious and unexpected treat. Like, ever.

I recently subscribed to Family Circle after realizing how fun it was to get a mag in the mail every month, and this recipe was featured as a homemade Christmas gift. I didn't give any out as a holiday present but I did make it for my tree trimming party and again for my office Christmas potluck.

It's Rosemary Shortbread, and probably going to be my new favorite savory treat to make.

The recipe is quite simple (included below) and it's been a huge hit with everyone I've served it to (besides a few picky eaters). It's flaky, soft, and buttery as expected but with barely any sugar and a healthy dose of salt and rosemary, it's heady and aromatic and oh, so, addictive.

The recipe also suggested a few different salty sweet combos such as thyme and lemons zest and Cayenne pepper and cocoa. I tried the thyme & lemon zest combo and really enjoyed it as well!

Rosemary Shortbread:
(makes 24 cookies)
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 c. confectioners' sugar


1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, rosemary and salt. In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended. Reduce speed to low and slowly add in flour mixture; blend until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gather dough into two balls, wrap both tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Heat oven to 350 degrees . Remove one dough ball and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness on parchment paper. Punch out cookies using a 31/2-inch tree-shaped cookie cutter. Transfer cutouts to a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart; refrigerate for 15 minutes. Repeat with second dough ball. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. (Do not allow cookies to brown.) Transfer cookies to a cooling rack.
Family Circle recipe here

easy as pie, right? Or, dare I say. . .cookies? 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


I'm feeling a bit nervous as I write this post, and it's rather strange to me.

A deep breath, and here goes.

New Years resolutions are not really my thing. You may have noticed them absent from my retrospective on the previous year, yesterday. I find that most people don't actually keep or think about their resolutions much longer than it takes to make them. I read in a magazine the other day that most people have given up their resolve by January 10th. That is less than two weeks after making those grand statements. 

Still, there is one thing that's been on my mind for awhile and the promise of a new year had caused me to commit to it, which makes me nervous.

When I started this blog, it was with the viewpoint of sharing my life with a bit of humor. My life at the time was a regular barrel of laughs what with working for the crazy Writer, and so this little place to write my thoughts morphed into mostly a place where I only share the "funny" bits of life. As time has gone on however, I often find myself thinking about serious topics. I've refrained from blogging about them, however, because honestly I think I was scared.

Scared that people would stop reading because it wasn't funny. Or scared that my words just wouldn't be eloquent enough for solemn topics. Mostly, though, I think scared because putting hard or scary or sad thoughts down is a lot harder than making light of the time there was a mouse stuck in your bathtub at one AM and you ended up drowning it because it seemed like the best idea at the time. . .

I've decided that there's no room for that fear anymore. Don't get me wrong, I'll still be writing those funny moments down. It gives me such joy! But don't be surprised to find a serious thought or two around here. Because I'm a person that's about more than making people laugh, and I want to share those parts of me, too.

And it case you wondered, KatyInTheKitchen will be around too! You wouldn't know from my posts, lately, but I've been in the kitchen quite a lot these last few months and, as luck would have it, I've got the most divine new discovery to share with you all tomorrow!

I'm not calling this a resolution, lest it fall by the wayside in the next nine days. I'll just call it opening another door for myself, and see where it goes!

Oh, and because I forgot to say yesterday. Happy New Year all! 
I pray 2013 is good to you. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012: A Retrospective

Last night, after a fun dinner at The Cactus Club and a low key evening of movie watching and champagne with friends, I slipped home and was in bed by 1:30. It was just what I'd hoped for my New Year's Eve celebration this year. Unassuming, relaxing, and effortless.

In the calm of the night, it was hard to believe that a year has come and gone since I last joined Boston's many revelers in ringing in this happy event. Starting before the clock struck midnight, my various social media outlets were filled with recalls of the year. The good, the bad, the mostly better. 

As I sat contemplating my own 2012, I was tempted to think that another year had come and gone, and really not much had happened. No new moves, jobs, romances, or status changes. It made me feel a bit antsy. As if maybe I should be picking up and moving to Colorado, or applying for jobs in Paris. But then. . .then, I began to think harder, or perhaps just more intentionally. 

What I found is that this year was full of important moments. Moments that little by little have changed the trajectory of my life. Often, in ways I probably don't fully realize yet. I took a pastry class fulfilling a long time dream (and hopefully will start up again soon!), made new friends, started a book club, took up jogging for the first time in my life, gave up my money trap of a car and didn't lose my independence. I worked toward mending a broken friendship and in it saw the real purpose of forgiveness and reconciliation. I had good friends help me realize that my job is not using me to my potential and show me my strengths and start pushing me out of my comfort zone. 

 I learned valuable lessons about how to be more selfless to my friends, roommate, and family. How to communicate more graciously, and bite my tongue when it doesn't matter.

I turned 25.

It seems, in the great rush of a year, a lot has happened. No, I'm not perfect. I'm not the person I'll always be. But I'm getting there. I'm many steps closer to being the woman I aspire toward. A woman who is gracious, kind, patient, loving, who follows Jesus despite the cost, who cares for those around her even when it seems inconvenient to the all consuming "I". 

I'm still making mistakes. Sometimes I fail and am greedy, impatient, sarcastic, and demanding. But I am praying that in this next year, bursting with possibility, that I will exude more of the former and less of the latter. 

In short, 2013, you have a lot to live up to.